About UsStudent WorkOpusWorkshopsNewsResources and Publications
Vermont MIDI Project LogoJeff Perrin with StudentsAbout Composers and Mentors


Key Tenets about the Composition Process

Critique and Reflection

Mentoring Guidelines

Composers and Mentors


Participating Schools

Partners and Organizations

Board of Directors


Key in the online discussion process of the Vermont MIDI Project are the professional composers who are hired to review student work online in a password protected website. These mentors are paid a small stipend to comment on student work and offer suggestions. Most spend two and a half hours weekly, although at times, particularly when students are working on compositions for the Opus events, some double their time online.

Some of the artists are available as artists-in-residence. They also present workshops, and prepare resource materials for teachers and students. Other composer mentors combine full or part time jobs teaching in the schools and mentoring on the site.

Erik Nielsen picture

Erik Nielsen's
compositional catalog includes works for chorus, orchestra, wind ensemble, solo instruments, chamber music of many configurations, works for dance, film and electronic music. His works have been performed in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia as well as many locations in the United States and have been performed by ensembles including the Amabile, Chiara, Emerson and Ying String Quartets; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Killington and Manchester Chamber Players; Bread and Puppet Theater; the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble; Vermont Opera Theater, Vermont Symphony; Vermont Youth Orchestra and Village and Northern Harmony. He has won awards from ASCAP, the Vermont Arts Council, and in 1991 was chosen Vermont Composer of the Year by the Vermont Music Teachers Association. In 2004 he was also awarded a Creation Grant by the Vermont Arts Council to compose a companion piece to Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat. In 2009 he received a grant from the Kittredge Fund to complete the piece. The work, The Crane Maiden, will be toured by the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble during the 2011-12 season. Mr. Nielsen lives in Brookfield, VT and teaches music theory and composition with the Vermont Youth Orchestra. Erik is a member of ASCAP.
Matt Podd picture
Matt Podd
is unique among all of our current mentors.  Matt has come full circle, he was a student participant in the VT MIDI Project, he graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Masters Degree in Jazz Composition, and he is now a member of the Board of Directors, and a mentor to students in our program.  He has had original compositions performed around the world by both professional and amateur musicians. As a keyboard player, Matt performs regularly as a jazz pianist, vocal accompanist, and church organist. Matt composes and plays various types of music, including jazz, classical, contemporary, theatre, and popular. Matt is a dedicated music educator through his work mentoring young composers with the Vermont MIDI Project, teaching at music camps and children’s theater groups as well as teaching privately. His website link is  www.podability.com/matt. Matt is a member of ASCAP.
Mike Close picture Michael Close is the music teacher at Moretown Elementary School in Vermont. He also teaches cello at the Monteverdi Monteverdi Music School and the Vermont Strings School. He Graduated from Bennington College in 2003 with a Bachelor's degree in music composition and a Master of Arts in Teaching. He has been a mentor with the Vermont MIDI Project since 2004.

Dillon Kondor picture

Dillon Kondor is a composer, conductor, electric guitarist and bassist living in New York City. He is currently pursuing his Masters degree in composition at Manhattan School of Music, where he studies with Reiko Fueting. Recent projects include "Sleep Spindles" for solo trombone and "Snow" for percussion quartet. He is also in the process of recording an R&B album with his band The Proles. To hear his music and learn about upcoming events, go to  www.myspace.com/dillonkondor

Dominique Gagne picture

Dominique Gagne is a freelance composer, jazz flutist and pianist. She has a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Oberlin Conservatory and a Masters in Jazz Composition and Arranging from UMass Amherst. Having recently relocated to Brooklyn, NY, she is teaching early childhood music and also playing and composing for the newly-formed Brazilian/Roots ensemble called the Brooklyn Fife Revival. She is currently working on an original piece for the National Flute Association’s Jazz Flute Big Band, to be premiered this summer at their conference in NYC. Dominique is a member of ASCAP.

Rob Paterson picture

The son of two visual artists, Robert Paterson’s music is often inspired by nature, visual art, machines and American icons, and has been described in the press as “one of the major contenders in American music.” Paterson has received performances in the United States and abroad by many outstanding ensembles, including the Louisville Orchestra, Russian Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire , New York New Music Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, California EAR Unit, Ensemble Aleph and at the June in Buffalo Festival. His many awards include a Copland Award, the Brian Israel Prize, the Louisville Orchestra Composition Competition and twice winning the ASCAP Young Composer's Award. Read more about Rob on his website: www.robpaterson.com. Robert is a member of ASCAP.
Pat Morehead picture
Composer, oboist and professor Patricia Morehead holds a B. M in oboe from the New England Conservatory of Music and a PhD in composition from the University of Chicago, the city which she also calls home. She is leader of the Composers Forum at the Merit School of Music, where she teaches composition and theory. She has served as Artistic Director of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Chicago for 20 seasons and continues as founder and an ensemble member. Her many compositions, commissions and grants have led to an extensive roster of international world premieres and audio recordings. Dr. Morehead has performed extensively in Brazil, Canada, China, Europe and the United States. She has also served in senior board positions with New Music Chicago, New European Music Overseas, American Women Composers, Midwest and the International Alliance of Women in Music. Patricia is a member of ASCAP.

Alexandra Fol picture

The music of Alexandra Fol has been performed by ensembles such as the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the Sofia Symphony Orchestra, the McGill symphony, the orkest de ereprijs, the Orchestre de la Francophonie, the CYE ensemble and the New York Miniaturist Ensemble among others. Finalist for the 2006 Gaudeamus Prize, and winner of the 2007 Leonard Bernstein Tanglewood fellowship, she completed a Doctor of Music degree at McGill University in 2011. Fol works as composer, organist and conductor in Montréal, Canada and serves as Secretary General at the International Research and Information Centre Thracica. For more information, please visit http://www.alexandrafol.blog.com. Alexandra is a member of SOCAN.

Dr. Matthew McConnell picture

Dr. Matthew McConnell is a composer, organist, and piano instructor who holds a B. A. degree in Music from Bennington College, a M.M. degree in Musical Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, as well as the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree from the same institution. His principal teachers have included Stephen Siegel, Allen Shaw, John Heiss and Hollywood film orchestrator Erik Lundborg. McConnell received the Aaron Copland scholarship to attend The Conducting Institute’s Composer/Conductor Program at Bard College, and is a member of ASCAP. McConnell co-founded The Toyland Band, a Boston-based award-winning instrumental ensemble that specializes in performing arrangements of classical and popular music for children on no less than 28 diverse toy instruments.
Molly Joyce picture
Molly Joyce is an eighteen year old composer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She currently attends The Juilliard School in New York City, studying with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Christopher Rouse and privately with Missy Mazzoli. She has studied at many conservatories, most recently the Royal College of Music in London with Timothy Salter and La Schola Cantorum in Paris with Michel Merlet. She is also the recipient of many awards including a 2010 ASCAP Morton Gould Award and was also named a finalist in the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts 2010 Young Arts Competition. Read more about Molly on her website:www.mollysjoyce.com. Molly is a member of ASCAP.
Matt LaRocca picture
Matt LaRocca is a composer, violist and guitarist who lives in the Boston area and is the music director at The Governor's Academy.  He holds a B.A. in music and chemistry from Middlebury College, and a M.Mus. from Carnegie Mellon University.    As a composer, his works have been performed both across the country and abroad.  He has spent time as the Composer in Residence for the Montana State University Symphony, and been a Visiting Artist at Holderness School, leading workshops in free improvisation.  In addition, he is also an avid performer on both the guitar and viola, with projects ranging from avant-garde to traditional music. Matt is a member of ASCAP.
Zach Sheets picture

Zach Sheets
is a composer and flutist from Norwich, Vermont. His works have been performed by the Bach Society Chamber Orchestra, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Brattle Street Chamber Players, the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the Arcadian Wind Quintet, among others. He was recently announced as a 1st prize winner in the Grafimuse Competition, a finalist in the 2011 ASCAP Morton Gould Competition, and the 2010 recipient of Harvard University's John Green Award. Upcoming projects include a sextet to be performed in November 2011 by the award-winning Talea Ensemble from New York. Mr. Sheets began composing with the Vermont MIDI Project in 2001, working with Erik Nielsen as a primary mentor. He currently studies with Chaya Czernowin at Harvard University, where he is completing a B.A. in Music and French Literature. Mr. Sheets is also a substitute flutist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and principal flutist with the Dunster House Opera Orchestra; he studies with Cynthia Meyers of the Boston Symphony. Zach is a member of ASCAP.

Robinson McClellan is a composer, teacher, and scholar. His music has been commissioned and played by the Albany, Ft. Worth, and Knox-Galesburg Symphonies, Amsterdam’s Gaudeamus Competition, and others. He has done residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo, and his choral music is published in the NCCO Choral Music Series and, Music by Heart, an Episcopal hymnal. Robin has taught composition at Hunter College and is spearheading ComposerCraft, a composition intensive for young composers at the Special Music School in NYC. He is a composer mentor for YCIW at the Little Red Schoolhouse (also in NYC), and he is on the music faculty at Rutgers University and Wagner, Manhattan, and St. Francis Colleges, and the Lucy Moses School. He earned his doctorate in composition (DMA) at the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. For more info visit: www.robinsonmcclellan.com. Robinson is a member of ASCAP

Dr. Sara Doncaster picture

Dr. Sara Doncaster earned her Ph. D. in Theory and Composition from Brandeis University. She has received awards and commissions for her compositions from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Vermont Arts Council, the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra, the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony,the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, among others. A resident of Irasburg, Vermont, Dr. Doncaster has been an elementary and middle-school music teacher and private piano teacher. She is the director of the Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival, a three-day celebration of modern music in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
David Ludwig picture
The music of David Ludwig has been heard worldwide and has been performed in some of the most prestigious venues.  He is the resident composer of the Vermont Symphony, along with several other active residencies, and has gathered many awards. Ludwig joined the faculty of The Curtis Institute in 2002. Visit David Ludwig's website to learn more.
Peggy Madden picture
Peggy Madden assembled her first computer based project studio in 1988. She currently works as a music technology consultant at Hartford High School where a generous gift brought a long-standing dream of a state-of-the-art music lab to fruition. She has also been an artist in residence in various schools throughout Vermont. Peggy is a member of ASCAP.
Andy Gagnon picture
Andy Gagnon has been composing since the age of three when he penned his first piece, Do It Yourself, a charming work in ABCA form for solo voice and Fisher Price keyboard-glockenspiel about the hardships and eventual rewards of cleaning one’s room.  During his high school years, Mr. Gagnon worked with the Vermont MIDI project as a student composer, refining his compositional techniques.   Mr. Gagnon now studies music education at the University of Vermont where, along with good friend and colleague Will Charron, he is humbly assisting in the development of a new composition concentration within his major.
Will Charron picture

Will Charron
is a nineteen year old composer/percussionist specializing in mallet percussion. He is a Junior at the University of Vermont where he studies Music Education with a concentration in Music Theory and Composition. In addition, Will is employed by UVM as a music theory tutor and is one of the co-Presidents of UVM's chapter of CMENC. Over the past seven years, Will's compositions have included works for percussion ensemble, drumline, chamber ensembles, and several solo instruments. In the coming years, Will plans on teaching high school instrumental music and receiving a Master's degree in Music Theory and Composition. He has mentored for the VT MIDI Project since the beginning of 2011.

| Membership | Partners & Organizations | Support Our Efforts | Contact Us